Sisters Killed in Fla. Condo Collapse Are Buried Together in Same Coffin as Death Toll Rises to 46
Lucia Guara, 10, and her sister Emma, 4, died alongside their parents when the Champlain Towers South building collapsed on June 24
Two sisters who were among the youngest victims of the Surfside, Florida condo collapse were laid to rest on Tuesday, side-by-side in the same white coffin.
Lucia Guara, 10, and her younger sister Emma, 4, were buried alongside their parents Anaely, 42, and Marcus, 52, following a funeral at St. Joseph Catholic Church, about three blocks away from the condo that collapsed in the early hours of June 24, killing their family of four and at least 42 others, according to the Associated Press.
The siblings' shared coffin was draped with pink and purple ribbons, and was reportedly carried out of the church to the singing of "Amazing Grace."
Family member Digna Rodriguez told the AP that Lucia's nickname was "Lulu bear," and that she loved dancing, doing yoga with Anaely, and watching Jeopardy! with Marcus.
Emma, meanwhile, loved art, her dad's piggyback rides, and cuddling with her mom, said Rodriguez.
"May we all connect with family as Lucia would," she said. "May we all move with grace as Emma would. May we all be as devoted and loyal as Marcus and Anaely were."
The girls were identified as victims of the tragedy on June 30, several days after their father was pulled from the rubble. They were among the youngest victims; authorities also said the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter was killed.
"This cooler than cool guy melted all over his daughters. He loved being a father," Marcus' cousin Peter Milián told the AP. "I truly believe God watched over them by not making them suffer without Lucia and Emma."
He added that Lucia once stuffed all of her birthday and tooth fairy money into an envelope and asked for Marcus to send it to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
"He loved life and he loved his family," Milián told the outlet. "I mean, he loved his family dearly. He lived for them."
Search and rescue crews recovered 10 victims overnight, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 46 people, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference Wednesday morning. Cava said 32 of those victims have been identified, and next-of-kin notifications have been made. Two-hundred people are now accounted for, and 94 people are still missing.
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Meanwhile, demolition crews on Sunday night set off explosives to destroy the damaged remaining portion of the Champlain Towers South condo building, which had experts fearful it would collapse and injure crews working below, the AP reported.